Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Some Advice For The "Commander Guy"

Dear Commander Guy,

While reading the accounts of your recent surprise visit to the troops in Iraq, I noticed a couple of photographs by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press which regularly appeared in several of the articles. Frankly, I must say that I was very disappointed in the production quality of your photo op. It appears to me that your recently departed chief political advisor, Karl Rove, is sorely missed. If I may be so bold, how do you expect to sell your completely unnecessary, massively unpopular, hopelessly unwinnable war for profit with such shoddy presentations as this?

Being the Commander Guy, you can order these people to stand anywhere you like, and you indeed have them well placed under that sign, with yourself casually dressed and centrally located in the shot -- your hand warmly extended, exuding a friendly demeanor. Nice touch there. But in case you haven't noticed, those three troops on the left don't exactly look thrilled to be shaking your hand. Then there's that gal in the middle. She doesn't look very happy to me. In fact, she appears to be giving you a rather contemptuous look. What's up with that? You might also want to take a second look at that fellow on the right. Is that a smile, or a smirk? Is he laughing at you? I wonder.

When you send these brave men and women off to be killed and maimed in a war, first to find weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, then to capture Saddam Hussein, then to create a democracy, and now for... whatever justification you're using this month so your cronies can continue their war profiteering, the troops naturally tend to develop morale problems. When you go before the nation and mouth platitudes about "supporting the troops" while you oppose their pay raises and widow's benefits, their resentment of you tends to grow, and it shows on their faces. This ruins the desired effect of that all-important photo op. If you're going to continue to use these people as meat puppets for your press productions, then you need to start doing it in a more professional manner. Since Karl Rove isn't around to help you any more, I thought I might step up and give you a few pointers on how to put on a better show.

1) Bring your own photographer

Don't let the Associated Press take the photographs! Bring somebody from Fox News or the Republican National Committee and keep the press away from these events. That way you can order those bullet sponges to smile on cue, over and over again if necessary, until you get that perfect shot for later release to the press. Those liberal-biased A/P photographers tend to take candid shots. You want photographs that capture the spirit of undying love and devotion your troops have for you, the Commander Guy. Here's a great example from somebody I think you might know.

Now that guy knew how to stage a professional photo op! Of course his troops had an actual mission, and they went home when it was accomplished. That always helps to keep the morale of the troops up.

2) Lots of soldiers -- no faces

If you don't have the stomach to order those grunts to smile, you might try this approach. Who cares if they smile? You don't need their faces anyway! Not enough troops? Give Halliburton a no-bid contract for mannequins to use as stand-ins. All you need for the desired effect is lots of helmets and backpacks!

This very impressive technique was perfected by a fellow named Goebbels back in the 30s and 40s. He was a master of this type of shot. You may have heard of him. If not, give Karl Rove a call. I'll bet Karl can tell you all about him. Just think how patriotic you'll feel as you stand up there on that podium and exalt the troops on to victory after victory in defense of the "Homeland".

3) Paint Shop is your friend

Say you've got a pesky A/P photographer with an ominously unAmerican sounding name like Charles Dharapak hanging around with a camera, snapping unflattering pictures of you with the troops. No problem. Just have his camera confiscated, download the photographs, and with the magic of Paint Shop or some similar software ... presto!

Look at those smiling shrapnel magnets! I did a crappy job of it but hey, you're the Commander Guy! You have the CIA at your disposal. Those guys have been doing jobs like this since before computers were around. They'll have the doctored photos e-mailed back to you before the folks over at Abu Ghraib are finished giving that asshole Dharapak his waterboarding! He'll be more than happy to send the new, improved versions of the pictures down the A/P wire when he gets back. Just remind him that if he doesn't keep his terrorist-loving yapper shut that you'll be forced to exercise your new powers under the Military Commissions Act and declare him an enemy combatant.

4) Spend more time with the brass

Let's face it. Those four-star generals make for a much more impressive production than hanging out with the enlisted personnel. They are experts at things like photo ops.They know exactly when to smile for the cameras, and they go out of their way to make you look good. They've spent their whole careers sucking up and kissing ass. They wouldn't have all of those stars otherwise. They sleep in comfortable quarters, eat good food, and don't have to worry about things like getting shot, so their morale is normally pretty good.

These are your people. They are fellow Commander Guys like you -- until they retire of course. Then they become pundits and write books ridiculing you. Oh well, it's lonely at the top.

No comments: